Well, it’s time to introduce the other character. If Erina’s going to be the hard-to-please battle-axe, then we need a meek, delicate flower to counterbalance that. As a result, meet Megumi.
Nice, she’s only 13, the perfect age for someone to be figuratively molested by Soma’s bizarre concoctions.
Also, the girl is too dumb for school, so she’s decided to be a cook. Well, that’s one way to look at it. Then I suppose if she can’t hack it here, she can become a culinary instructor.
Anyways, the school has an opening ceremony, because we fucking love opening ceremonies. I can’t remember the last school-related anime that didn’t have an opening ceremony. I also can’t remember any opening ceremonies in my life.
Naturally, Erina is the best and brightest and also the prettiest. Par for the course, really. There’s almost always one of these girls in anime. Someone has to be royalty. This way, it’s all the more delicious when she admits her defeat to the chosen shounen hero.
Then there’s this old man. As you can plainly read right there in the screenshot, he’s a big wig. All of the students are afraid of him, because he and his family determines your success in the food world, blah blah blah. Yeah, sure. Whatever. The whole setup is ridiculous in a way that it’s not believable, but not ridiculous in a way that it’s amusing. As a result, a vague sense of boredom settles in. I’m not particularly engaged or enthralled by any of these character introductions.
The whole school is set up in a way that only 1% of the student body will succeed. Sounds like a shitty school, to be honest.
It’s all fantasy, of course. It’s all hyperbole, of course. I know that, you know that, so on and so forth. Still, I’ll just say it anyway: you should never be proud of the fact that you fail as many students as you can. Alright, back to our regularly scheduled shounen.
Anyway, much to Erina’s chagrin, Soma is admitted to the school anyway. He then makes an arrogant speech to the rest of his peers, because he just loves to stir the pot.
Of course. It’s better for our erections if you just pretend to be a challenge.
It’s really one big dick-measuring contest. We’ve been studying molecular gastronomy for the past three years! Well, I’ve been cooking since I was in my mom’s womb! Just shounen things…
Megumi desperately wants to stay in school, so she resolves to stay away from the shounen hero.
For all of like two seconds. See, it’s funny. It’s, like, irony. Also, why does that arrow have to come from his crotch?
It’s the first day of class, and since Megumi and Soma are like country bumpkins compared to the rest of their classmates, they have no choice but to team up with each other. Alright, alright, I’ve had my fill of boring narrative set-ups and character introductions already. Let’s get to the cooking. I love cooking. Impress me, anime.
Each pair has to make beef bourguignon… in two hours. Seriously? Seriously? I thought this was a fancy culinary academy. As a result, why would you pick beef bourguignon for a 2-hour test? Sure, sure, they have pressure cookers. Sure, there are several tricks that one can use to quickly tenderize meat. Sure, sure, these kids could learn a thing or two about food science. But c’mon, if it’s all about taste, then why are we focusing on short cuts?
You make beef bourguignon in two hours if you just got home from work, and for some reason, you want to make stew for your family on a cold winter night or whatever. But these guys are training to be serious cooks and chefs, right? And let’s be real. I’m not going out for a night out of town and ordering beef fucking bourguignon. But let’s play along. Let’s say I really have a hankering for beef stew. Fine. I’ll order your goddamn beef bourguignon. But it better have some serious love in it. By serious love, you better have been cooking that pot of beef bourguignon in the oven at low heat for the past eight hours so that the beef can properly break down and flavor the stew. Don’t give me this two-hour bullshit. I ain’t going to a brasserie, paying at least 25 bucks for the dish, and ordering a nice glass of pinot only to learn that this fucking shit was only made in the last two hours in a goddamn pressure cooker.
These kids have nothing better to do than to grit their teeth and furrow their brows at the hero. Tough school, only the 1% will succeed, your entire culinary career will depend on your performance, etcetera etcetera… but grr, let’s stare at that kid!
So naturally, they sabotage Soma and his partner’s efforts. You’d think a school like this would keep a closer eye on its students…
Um… phrasing! But yeah, the assholes poured a bunch of salt on top of Megumi’s beef. It’s thus up to Soma and his book of culinary tricks to get the job done… in 30 minutes. Mmm mmm, 30-min bourguignon! Compliments to the chef!
And just look at the size of that beef. It looks like he chucked a giant piece of chuck into a pot. First, you want to tell me that they made this in 30 minutes, then you want to tell me he tenderized a piece of beef that size in just 30 minutes. And just exactly how did he do it?
With honey, of course! Honey can tenderize beef! Sure, fine. Soma claims he spent time kneading the beef with honey. But I really don’t see how kneading the surface of a piece of beef that big with honey will do anything for the insid–… oh, silly me. We’re here for the “hilariously” over-the-top food reactions. Just roll the damn clip.
Yep. Beef stock, some red wine, veggies, and… honey… I’m sure it tasted great. But that’s the other thing. What happened to the red wine? It almost seemed like the episode ignored the other major ingredient in beef bourguinon… hell, the red wine is arguably almost as important as the beef itself! Well, of course it did. These kids are barely old enough for high school, so they shouldn’t really be talking about wine. Now, Anthony Bourdain will claim that you don’t need to use expensive red wine for this dish. And sure, I wouldn’t break out a $100+ bottle of wine for what is essentially beef stew. But I also wouldn’t dump swill in there either. Dude has some humorous and sometimes insightful food commentary, but he was never a great chef. I’m sure he can make a decent beef bourguignon, but it’s not something I’d go out and actually order.
Anyway, Soma wins the day again, and somehow, Erina hears about it and swears that she will do everything in her power to make Soma’s life difficult. You’d think someone like her would admire someone with Soma’s talent. Game recognize game, y’know? But not in our shounen…
Then immediately after winning Megumi and the instructor over with his honey-flavored concoction, Soma goes back to mixing squid into everything. Why squid again? That’s an easy question to answer: no one wants to see the 13-year-old girl molested by a buncha cows. But throw in some tentacles, and it’s just the funniest shit ever. Or sexiest. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh or beat myself off. Maybe both. But that’s enough for now. Until next week’s episode… whereupon I’ll rant about food some more.